See You at the Beach!

 

Get Your Tickets Now!

Way back in 2013, I was a fairly brand-new author, only about a year published. I was invited to my very first author conference/reader event . . . and I was SO excited!

That was Olde City, New Blood, which later morphed into Coastal Magic. I’m proud to say I’ve been a featured author every single year, from 2013 through 2019. This year, I want to see ALL of you there with me!

Why? Well, let me tell you . . .

1) AUTHORS. So many amazing authors will be there to hang out with you, chat with you, party with you, lunch with you . . . check out the full listing here.

2) PANELS. This year, they’re better than ever! You can hear your favorite authors talk about fascinating topics like how music affects our writing process, what alphas are hot, how we kill our favorite characters and so much more! Complete schedule listing is here.

3) MARDI GRAS. This year’s Coastal Magic falls the weekend before Mardi Gras, which means we’ll be partying New Orleans style!

4) SIGNING. Come get your favorite books and have the authors sign them!

5) GIVEAWAY. I’m excited to announce that I’m partnering with the awesome Hildie McQueen, Cynthia D’Alba and Darynda Jones to present a super-fun giveaway. All you have to do is find one of us–or ALL of us–and take a picture with us, post on social media and tag us–fill out your entry form (available on site) and you’re entered to win one of at least five AMAZING prizes.

6) BEACH. Daytona Beach in February/March. Trust me, you want to be there.

7) BABY. On a personal note, I’m thrilled to announce that my sweet grandbaby Delia Joy will be at Coastal Magic this year! This con is one where my daughters always join me for a special girls getaway, but this year, we’ll be adding one more generation. So if you’re there, you just might get a selfie with the famous Ms. DJ.

So why are you waiting? Get your ticket NOW.

Do you need more incentive?

The first twenty people who buy tickets and note my name in their ticket order WILL receive a FREE signed paperback that includes an Amazon gift card. This is not an entry–it’s an assured prize!

 

Buy Your Tickets Now!

The Real Crystal Cove

Does Crystal Cove Exist?

The question I am asked most often about the Crystal Cove books . . . is the town based on a real one? The answer is yes!

In 2013, I had just finished my YA paranormal romance series, The King Quartet, and I planned to write a spin-off series of those books next. However, one spring day, I was driving home from one of our frequent trips to the beach and suddenly, inspiration struck.

As I made the hour-long trek, the entire story of The Posse unfolded before me. I joked later that it fell into my lap, and that is honestly how it felt. I could see Jude, Logan, Matt, Cooper and the rest of the Posse as though we were old friends.

And it’s not surprising that where I saw them was in the quaint beach town I’d just left. New Smyrna Beach had won my heart over the year that had passed, once we’d moved from the west side of central Florida to the east side. I loved being able to drive onto the beach, and one of my favorite places to eat was a beach-front bar and grill called Breakers. I’d noticed, too, that a bed and breakfast was under construction on the main street. All of these factored into the story.

I’ve been blessed to spend many happy hours in New Smyrna since writing The Posse. Later, we stayed at the Riverview Inn, and that inspired parts of Abby and Ryland’s story.

So is Crystal Cove exactly like New Smyrna? Of course not. It is, in many ways, the skeleton upon which I hung the story and characters of that fictional town. I’ve never lived in New Smyrna Beach, so I see things from a very privileged outsider’s point of view. I’m sure that like any community, it has its troubles and drawbacks.

But if you want a taste of the Rip Tide’s famous burgers and atmosphere, check out Breakers. They don’t offer live music on Fridays and Saturdays the way Jude’s place does, and I added a deck on the outside, just because they needed it, but otherwise, it’s a close match. And if you want to know what the Hawthorne House is like, visit the Inn on the Avenue. Again, the bed and breakfast originally run by Abby and now managed by Cal and Alex isn’t quite the same. I’d described the interior before I’d ever seen the real-life component. But there are elements that are oddly close to its fictional component.

And if I had the chance to take my readers on a tour of New Smyrna Beach, I could show you the house upon which Jude and Daniel’s home was based, the area in which I envisioned Cooper’s house and workshop, the neighborhood where Emmy and her kids live. I could point out Matt’s surf shop and take you to the Riverside–eh, I mean the Riverview Inn.

I’ll admit, too, that whenever I visit NSB now, I feel as though if I turned my head just quick enough, I might catch a glimpse of Jude or Alex or Emmy or Logan . . . for me, this town and these people are as real as any other.

The Starfish Room at the Inn on the Avenue (Crystal Cove’s Hawthorne House)

The Riverside Hotel, which is known as the Riverview Hotel in Crystal Cove. The Cove version is actually set on a lot more land alongside the river.
The Inn on the Avenue (The Hawthorne House in CC)
Flagler Avenue (Main Street in CC)
Breakers (The Rip Tide in Crystal Cove)
Ahhhhh . .. the beach!!

Why football romance?

 

Not everyone is aware of this, but until recently, sports romance was not considered a viable literary genre. In the old days–think ten years ago–the thought was that women didn’t want to read romance that featured men who played sports or women who loved sports.

That, of course, is ridiculous. These days, more than half of the viewing audience of any given NFL game is female–and advertisers know that. Just look at the demographics of most ads that run on TV during Sunday games, not to mention Monday and Thursday Night Football.

So why NOT football romance is probably the better question!

For me, personally, football has always been a passion. It was something I shared with my dad. He passed down to me a love of Army football, in particular. My dad and my husband both graduated from West Point. Army is my one constant in college football love; I’ve been cheering on Army as long as I can remember, and no matter what, I’ll be an Army fan until I die.

#GOARMYBEATNAVY

And there’s just something about a romance that happens against the backdrop of football that gives me an extra thrill. I’m not alone. Sports romance as a genre is h o t.  We like the teams, the ambiance of the game, the thrill of competition–oh, and we love the players.

I always knew I wanted to write football romance, so tackling the Keeping Score series was a pure labor of love. The story began with Leo, Quinn and Nate and then continued with Tate, Gia, Tuck and Zelda. Next will come Gideon and Sarah–and then a spin-off college football series.

Your Wildest Dreams, which releases tomorrow, is the book only peripherally related to the game, even though football plays a huge role in the story line. Eli Tucker might not be on the field anymore, but football is still a constant in his life.

Right now, the entire Keeping Score series is on special at Apple Books. The prequel, Young, and Book 1, When We Were Us, are both free this week. Hanging By A Moment, Book 2, is only 99 cents. Days of You and Me, Book 3, is $1.99. And finally, Not Broken Anymore, Book 4, is $2.99.

Of course, Your Wildest Dreams releases tomorrow!

So go get your football romance on! The Keeping Score series page is right here.

 

THE MEANT TO BE GIRL (A Sneak Peek!)

The Meant To Be Girl is my contribution to the Christmas romance anthology THE 12 NIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, available everywhere now! This is a little peek at the magic . . .

“Hey, Ashley. Did you get drafted, too?”

The smile that curved my lips was completely involuntary, but I had trouble ignoring the spark of pleasure and want that tingled up my spine. Zane was sitting on the floor near me, surrounded by evergreen.

“Ohhhhh . . .” I grinned. “So, you’re the someone who got roped into putting the tree together.”

He shrugged. “I think Darlene overestimated my abilities. It looks like a pine tree murder and dismemberment back here.” Zane glanced over his shoulder and lowered his voice. “It might have helped if they’d saved the instructions. I’m totally winging it here.”

I sighed, and for a happy moment, I simply gazed at him. In the months since Zane had first wandered into my salon looking for a quick haircut, he’d become not only a loyal client but a friend. He had a standing appointment every three weeks, and I’d be lying to myself if I’d said I didn’t look forward to his visits. There was just something about this man . . . between his self-deprecating humor, his kindness, and his charm, I didn’t stand a chance. And that wasn’t even touching on the body that made regular appearances in my dreams.

“Huh.” Tori came up to peer over my shoulder. “Hey, Zane. Yeah, you’re in over your head, I’d say.” She gave me a little shove. “Ashley here just happens to be an expert at Christmas tree assembly. And she’d be happy to help you.”

I glared at my friend. “I thought you and I were supposed to be untangling lights.”

Tori shrugged. “I got that by myself. You should go where you’re really needed, Ash.” She gave me wide and suggestive eyes, and I prayed that Zane didn’t notice.

“Thanks for throwing me into the briar patch,” I hissed to her.

She giggled. “Looks more like a pine forest. And you’re welcome. Because you know, that’s what friends are for—to remind you about what’s important and to kick your ass when you forget.”

There was nothing like having my own words quoted back at me. I was well and truly stuck now. “Fine. But you better make sure I get some of those fries when Darlene brings them out.”

Tori held up one hand, as though taking a pledge. “I promise.”

Still wearing a scowl, I picked my way among the thick wire branches covered in green plastic “needles” and cleared a space to sit down on the floor.

“You’re really going to help me? God bless you. I thought you might just stand over me and direct what I should do.” He gestured to the piles.

“In for a penny, in for a pound,” I sighed. “If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. We should find the base first, and then the center poles.” I began to root around the branches. “Sheesh, they all look the same. How’re we supposed to know what goes where?”

“Trial and error, I guess.” Zane frowned and picked up a green-covered stick. “Hey, this might be part of the trunk. I think.”

“Is it longer and harder?” Even as the words tumbled out of my mouth, I heard what I was saying and felt my face going red.

Zane quirked one eyebrow. “Not yet. But there’s potential.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . Christmas Romance!

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Available Everywhere Now!

And join us on Thursday, October 25th, for the big holiday party!

Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors each bring you a sexy night of romance, fun and a little magic. ‘Tis the season for falling for the right guy! Can a magical fruitcake be the special ingredient for falling in love?

**‘Tis the season for giving, too!** 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the hunger relief organization Feeding America

December 25: “Scrooge You” by MK Schiller Christmas is nothing but a reminder of Eva’s tragic past. To make matters worse, her boyfriend invites his entire family over…so she goes into Scrooge mode. When three ghosts visit her, will she be able to remember the joy in her heart and the true meaning of Christmas?

December 26: “Unexpected Daddy” by Gemma Brocato She let him go to pursue his dreams without telling him she was pregnant. Five years later, he’s back in town and her secret’s out. Can they get over past hurts to seize a future for their small family?

December 27: “The Meant to Be Girl” by Tawdra Kandle When Ashley Webbar meets Zane Fletcher, it’s insta-lust, but she soon suspects he’s already smitten with someone else. Ashley is so busy matchmaking that she might miss out on her own happily-ever-after…if something doesn’t intervene first. This just might call for a Christmas miracle.

December 28: “For One Night Only” by Carrie Elks When two strangers are stranded at a rest stop in the middle of Nowheresville—thank you, Mr. Bus Driver—they’re forced to spend the night together. But when morning comes, they both find themselves asking one question. Will they see each other again, or was their connection for one night only?

December 29: “Best Friends for a Night” by Alice Gaines Every year, Steve has been cheering up his army buddy’s widow with popcorn and zany movies on the anniversary of her husband’s death. Will a little holiday magic make Steve and Hannah more than friends?

December 30: “Entwined” by Kristi Rose Donovan survived combat, but can he survive being stranded over Christmas with the girl of his dreams? He swore he’d stay away from his best friend’s kid sister years ago, but after a helicopter crash, this sailor knows second chances don’t come around often. Loving Bailey would mean risking not only his friendship but his heart.

December 31: “Rekindled” by Stacy Finz Branna and Drex are over…or at least they thought they were. But a little time trapped in an enclosed space with a magical fruitcake might just change that.

January 1: “New Year’s Negotiation” by Kate Allenton When Detective Elizabeth Cross’s high school crush and star of her what-ifs shows up at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve ready to take her on a trip down memory lane, she’ll have to decide if this is a second chance at her happily ever after or the start of another broken heart.

January 2: “Playing House” by Kim Golden Cassie Delk isn’t having the best holiday season. With her ex-husband about to get remarried, she’s not thrilled about still being single. The last thing she expects is for a second chance at love to turn up on her doorstep.

January 3: “Book of Love” by Cd Brennan Nothing infuriates Melanie more than the one-armed, ex-army hunk who chucks her mail at her book shop door. When Nick delivers a special package at the end of the day, a blizzard strands them together, and the fruitcake delivery sparks magic between them instead. Melanie isn’t sure what she wants to give him—a piece of her mind or all of her heart.

January 4: “A Winter Wonderland” by Rebecca Hunter Coming face to face with Jace after ten years is a reminder of everything Selena left behind when she moved from Delilah’s Cove. It’s even more dangerous when mixed with a little magic.

January 5: “Wild Honey” by Sarah Hegger Two people who couldn’t be more different. One elevator, a dark and stormy night, and a magical, bourbon-laced fruitcake. What could go right?  

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